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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Trump To Unveil Immigration Plan Wednesday Night; Chicago Moms On Violence, Trump's Message; QB Won't Stand For National Anthem; Trump Surrogate Apologizes For Incendiary Tweet; Trump Continues Uphill Battle In Securing Black Vote; Abedin Dumps Weiner After Another Sexting Scandal; Former Extremist Switches Sides; Gene Wilder Dies At 83. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 29, 2016 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:01:18] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us late today. The Trump campaign announced the time and place for the long awaited roll-out of his immigration policy. This may sound odd given that it's been the center piece of his campaign literally from day one. Lately, though, it seems to have been in flux. However, by Wednesday night in Phoenix at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the campaign promises to make all things clear. So we begin the hour in the conversation with CNN's Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump may be signaling his latest shift on immigration, moving toward the idea of prioritizing deportations to target criminals and away from removing all undocumented right away.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All the media wants to talk about is the 11 million people or more or less that are here illegally. On day one, I'm going to begin swiftly removing criminal illegal immigrants from this country.

ACOSTA: In what may be a major departure from his controversial call for a deportation force that Trump issued during the primaries, a senior campaign adviser said the GOP nominee will announce in a speech later this week that he will secure the border first and suggests that the conversation on what to do with the millions of undocumented should come, "years from now." As for Trump's proposal to build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border ...

TRUMP: We're going to build a great wall on the border.

ACOSTA: ... the adviser said, "Don't bet on any cracks," adding, "It will be an impenetrable physical barrier," that's consistent with the candidate's promises just in the past week.

TRUMP: It's going to be as beautiful as a wall can be. We will build the wall 100 percent and Mexico will be paying for the wall. ACOSTA: In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Trump's running mate, Mike Pence told Jake Tapper the policy is a work in progress but insisted there will be no path to legalization in Trump's plan.

MIKE PENCE, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He will stand on the principles that have underpinned his commitment to end illegal immigration in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Hillary Clinton's America, the middle class gets crushed.

ACOSTA: Still trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls, Trump is revving up his spending on new ads aimed at winning back middle class voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Donald Trump's America, working families get tax relief. Millions of new jobs created. Wages go up. Small businesses thrive. The American dream, achievable.

ACOSTA: But Trump is still capable of stepping on his own message. Take his tweets on the killing of a relative of pro basketball star Dwyane Wade. Over the weekend, Trump saw the crime as vindication of his outreach to minorities, tweeting, "Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will vote Trump." Hours later, he tweeted his condolences to Wade and his family.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think you have to look at both tweets where he expresses his condolences. And he says -- and he reminds everybody he's been trying to make the case that the increase in random crime and senseless murders, the poverty, the joblessness, the homelessness in some of our major cities, is unacceptable to all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And Jim joins us now. This immigration speech on Wednesday, do we know how detailed it's going to be? Because clearly now, Donald Trump is focusing on border security, you know, deporting criminals and it seems like perhaps kind of leaving less clear-cut idea of what to do with those 11 million illegal workers or immigrants who are already still here.

ACOSTA: Yeah, Anderson. I think that's the direction that this is heading right now. We are being told that we will have more information in the speech come Wednesday night. The campaign is confident that Donald Trump's immigration speech will settle any jitters among his supporters.

A top adviser says the address will reflect the consensus of conservatives nationwide. That adviser went on to say that yes, as you were just saying, that the priority would be more towards these criminal undocumented versus those who have been in this country for years, and have been law-abiding all along.

[21:05:09] They recognize inside the campaign that that is a more difficult policy to outline. But Anderson, keep in mind, I talked to another Trump adviser who cautioned that this policy is not final until we hear it from Donald Trump himself on Wednesday night. This is shaping up to be a significant speech.

Mike Pence is apparently going to be there. The vice presidential running mate will be there as well for this address on Wednesday night. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta. Jim, thanks. It's worth underscoring that this has been the centerpiece of the Trump campaign all along. He's also -- it's also worth showing again some of the changes we have been seeing in just the last several weeks, including when I spoke with him last Thursday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There certainly can be a softening, because we're not looking to hurt people. We want people -- we have some great people in this country.

CONWAY: He's not flip-flopping on immigration. His tough stance on immigration will not change.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think it's a softening. I think it's ...

COOPER: But 11 million people are no longer can be deported.

TRUMP: I've had people say it's a heartening, actually.

PENCE: Nothing has changed about Donald Trump's position on dealing with illegal immigration. His position and his principles have been absolutely consistent.

CONWAY: What he has said is very consistent. The softening is more approach than policy. And he's pretty consistent. And immigration is a very complex issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I'm back with the panel members. Corey Lewandowski and Patrick Healey, joining us as well is Republican strategist, Ana Navarro.

Corey, if there isn't any change in his position, why the talk of a softening which was a word he used? Why the, you know, the comments he really made on Sean Hannity in those town halls, if there is no change in the 11 million, the deportation idea?

CORY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: There really isn't. And what Donald Trump has said from the very beginning is number one, he's going to build a wall and stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country first and foremost. Next, as the president, he's going to empower the ICE. and CDP to go and enforce the rules which you hear which are -- if you're a criminal and you've been convicted of a felony and you're an illegal alien, you're going to leave the country. He's going to implement a significant e-verify program and defund sanctuary cities. Those are four principle steps which he has said from day one, have never changed.

And the real question is, we don't know how many immigrant -- we don't how many undocumented workers here. Is it 11 million, 12, 10, 15? We don't know the answer. And so, what we need do is first stop more illegals from coming in. Have a position, a policy in place that prevents that ...

COOPER: Right.

LEWANDOWSKI: ... then you can actually deal with the people that are here.

COOPER: I get that he's saying that. It just -- it does run counter to, you know, he did make a big deal in a number of interviews earlier, I think I interviewed him once and he said this but to many other people and on the primary debate stages, the 11 million, however many it is, they got to go. The good ones can come back but they got to go and ...

LEWANDOWSKI: No path to citizenship. Very clear about that. It's never changed.

COOPER: Right.

LEWANDOWSKI: No path to citizenship here. It doesn't actually pay back taxes or not. If you are here illegally, you're going to leave now.

We're going to wait until Wednesday in Arizona when Donald Trump gives the speech so we can hear it directly from him. But you heard it directly from him on Thursday, he's not changing his position at all.

PATRICK HEALY, NEW YORK TIMES POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But what animated primary voters, you know, throughout the winter wasn't the idea that Mr. Trump was going to be reflecting conservative consensus. It was the fact that he was going to build a wall and deport 11 million people. They want -- they like that tough, clear language.

COOPER: Right. Because a lot of other -- the Republicans during the primary season had, you know, I guess you could say more nuanced positions. I mean, Jeb Bush was talking about not a path to citizenship but, you know, legal status. Kasich was saying it's impossible to deport 11 million people.

HEALY: And people listening to that sort of knew what Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were basically saying. Which are they were basically saying these people are going to stay. We have to live in a real world. These people are going to stay.

What a lot of people loved about Donald Trump was that he was willing to say that in a very sort of like strong and tough way ...

COOPER: Right.

HEALY: ... these people are going to go.

COOPER: Right. It will be done humanely, they'll be deportation force but they got to go.

HEALY: Right.

COOPER: Ana, to you, is this -- is there a change or, to you, is it the same policy?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it's an embarrassment, frankly. He has been running a campaign for 15 months and guess what? The emperor had no clothes and the candidate had no policy.

We have seen for the last 10 days the very public plucking of daisy petals by Donald Trump. Should I deport them, should I not, should I deport them, should I not? I think he's being consulted to death. Somebody probably told him you've got a problem, people think you're a racist. They think you're going to deport, round up 11 million people who are part of families and send them back. You need to work on that. I think he tried, he found, as I told you last week, I thought he was testing the temperature. He found that it was stone freezing cold. That water was freezing. If he went in there, he was going to suffer shrinkage. Of course, I'm talking about his followers.

COOPER: OK. Does he risk -- I mean it does seem like there was this backlash, even at the talk of the softening, you know, that he's not emphasizing deportation force, that he's not automatically saying they got to go, the good ones could come back.

[21:09:58] LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I think when you've got two candidates who are the principal candidates in their parties for president of the United States, you had a clear dichotomy on their positions on this issue right now.

Donald Trump has said we're going to deal with people humanely. Hillary Clinton said executive amnesty right off the bat first 100 days, wants to grant every illegal that's here the opportunity to become a citizen or path to citizenship. That's not what Donald Trump has said. He's been very clear from the beginning if you are here illegally there is no path to citizenship. It's very different than the Clinton campaign.

COOPER: And what he's trying to do, too, he's thinking about Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona. You know, a few of those sort of swing states that he's really trying to get the votes of undecided voters who have felt for awhile that his rhetoric and sort of the aggressiveness of his policy ideas weren't humane, weren't fair, that they sort of went beyond where they were comfortable with.

The big test here, Anderson, is whether Mr. Trump was right back in the spring, whether or not he was right when he said, you know, I could go on to shoot -- you know, I could go Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and my followers wouldn't abandon me. Whether he can move toward what ultimately is a more flexible, you know, sort of softer position and people accept that.

COOPER: Ana, on this speech on Wednesday, which is ...

NAVARRO: I frankly ... COOPER: Go ahead, Ana.

NAVARRO: I think it's a little too little, a little too late. He has based his campaign on this. What he found last week was -- that he was not getting buy end from folks like Rush Limbaugh. He was not getting buy end from his followers. They were very very disappointed. Rush Limbaugh was breaking into fits of laughter. Ann Coulter was twisting herself into pretzel shapes to try to figure out and justify what he was doing, make sense of it.

Look, here's the problem, and I actually think that he's doing the right thing by doubling down on his position from a political perspective, because he's not going to change people's minds. This is not about policy. People don't like Donald Trump and don't think that he's a racist, those of us who do, because of his policies. I can have a lot of disagreements with folks on immigration policy or any sort of policy. It's because of him.

The problem Donald Trump has is not his immigration policy or lack thereof. The problem Donald Trump has is his lack of human empathy, his lack of emotional bandwidth that he responds to the death of an African American woman, Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of Dwayne Wade, but the mother of four children, by tweeting out, I told you so, vote for Trump. That is a lack of empathy that I think is shocking to so many of us ...

COOPER: Yeah.

NAVARRO: ... that no matter what he reads of a teleprompter as policy, it is too late to change our minds.

COOPER: Corey, just briefly. Do you think Wednesday, he's going to be incredibly specific or it does seem like there are going to be specific -- I mean maybe I'm wrong, but at least lately, they're trying to be specific on the front end, on the border security, on the go after criminals, and you know, years from now we'll figure out, we're, you know, we'll find out how many illegal immigrants there are here and we'll figure out what to do with them down the road.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, I think the one thing that we've learned is that, you know, unless you hear it from Donald Trump directly that we don't know what the policy is. And I don't want to get out in front of that. But what I do think is he's going to lay out very specifically what that wall looks like, how long that wall's going to be. He's talked about it many times. You don't need to cross the entire border because of the natural contours of the land. Buit he's going to get into those details. And I think, you know, this is not any major deviation than what he said in the past.

COOPER: All right, Corey Lewandowski, thank you very much, Patrick Healy, Ana Navarro.

Of course, much more ahead tonight including the political case that Donald Trump is trying to make to African-Americans during the deadliest month for shootings and killings in Chicago in decades. We'll hear from Chicago moms who've lost kids to violence and find out if Trump's message is resonating with them.

Also, the NFL Quarterback who says he will not stand up during the national anthem because the American flag, in his view, represents a country that oppresses black people. We'll hear from Director Spike Lee on that controversy when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:16:50] COOPER: Welcome back. More on the breaking news we've been following throughout the program. The tweet from the Trump pastor, Mark -- surrogate pastor, I should say, Mark Burns. Within the last hour, Pastor Burns has apologized for people who are offended. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASTOR MARK BURNS, TRUMP SURROGATE: Pastor Mark here. For everyone that's commented on I want to discuss and talk about my tweet earlier today as I contemplate -- first of all, I just want to say to the people that have -- that was offended. Obviously many people were offended by my tweet and it was not at all my intention to offer -- to not offend anyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He was on the Periscope, by the way. That sound (inaudible) was people sending him messages while he was talking. This comes as Donald Trump is publicly asking African-Americans for their vote and fair to say he's been taking some heat for it, including his tweet on the killing in Chicago of NBA star Dwyane Wade's cousin which did not include a message of condolence. Twitter not -- the raw facts are terrible enough. That killing was one of 84 so far this month.

We took the program to Chicago back in November. We talked to many people who've lost so much, including three moms who've had to do what no parent should ever have to do, they had to burry a murdered child.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAM BOSLEY, TERELL BOSLEY'S MOTHER: Terrell was murdered April 4th, 2006. It's nine years for me and the pain has not went away. And it's frustrating because his case is unsolved and I see so many children being shot every single day.

In Chicago, 70 percent of our cases are not solved. I feel like they don't value our children's lives. Nobody cares. It's not a national conversation. And we don't want just conversation, we want action.

DANIELLE STEWART, SPENCER CORTEZ STEWART'S MOTHER: I lost my son Spencer August 2nd of this year. And he was my only child. He was a good child, responsible young man, responsible and it's a struggle every day for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All right. That was in November. Now that Chicago has become part of the presidential campaign, especially with Donald Trump's statements to the African-American community. We thought it would be worthwhile to speak again with those same three women. Our Randi Kaye tonight reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do any of you trust what Donald Trump is telling you?

BOSLEY: No.

ANNETTE NANCE-HOLT, SON KILLED IN SHOOTING: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

KAYE: Donald Trump's message to African-Americans is lost on these women. Three mothers from Chicago who each lost a son to gun violence.

HOLT: And this is not a reality show. This is real life. This is our everyday lives. You know, our innocent children doing the right things gunned down in a city, you know, that they love so much. You know, it is not a joke to us.

KAYE: Certainly not to Annette Holt, who has met with Hillary Clinton on the violence plaguing her community.

Donald Trump paints himself as this law a order candidate. I mean is he the guy who's going to rescue these communities that are struggling?

HOLT: I would think he doesn't even know what our communities are going through.

KAYE: Still, that hasn't stopped Trump from making his pitch, asking for the vote of every single African-American. Listen to what he said at a recent rally.

TRUMP: What the hell do you have to lose?

[21:20:01] KAYE: Do you feel, Pam, that you have nothing to lose?

BOSLEY: I feel like Donald Trump is disvaluing our community. He has not come here. He'd been running for 14 months. Donald Trump has not been to the south side of Chicago. He hasn't been here. So how can you talk about us when you haven't talked to us?

KAYE: Trump talks about poverty in the black community. Bad schools and youth unemployment. But these women say that isn't the whole story.

Pam Bosley's son was in college when he was killed. Shot as he left choir practice. Annette Holt's son was a 16-year-old honor student killed on his school bus. Danielle Stewart's son was in his second year of college and working two jobs when he was shot dead leaving a party. STEWART: The pain that you get from losing a loved one never goes away. It's going to always be there forever. So, it's just heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking and sad to see this continues to happen each and every day.

KAYE: Trump says he can fix it and knows a guy inside Chicago P.D. with a plan. Though Chicago police have denied this.

So when you hear someone like Donald Trump say he talked to a top cop in the Chicago police who knows how to fix it in a week, he didn't exactly share what that plan was or even if he knows the plan, but do you buy that?

BOSLEY: No.

STEWART: no.

HOLT: And if he knew how to fix it in a week, why is he talking about it? Do it.

BOSLEY: Right.

KAYE: Pam, do you think Donald Trump has a point at all given that the Democrats in leadership here have not been able to fix it?

BOSLEY: You know what, he don't have a point. He don't have a clue.

HOLT: It's hard enough to lose your child but for somebody to take it lightly and make it like a political agenda now that he sees that maybe it might work to help advance him, it's ridiculous. I mean, it really is. Where was your heart before this?

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Chicago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I'm back now with the panel members, Scottie Nell Hughes and Angela Rye.

Scottie, I mean, do you think Donald Trump can make inroads with -- I mean, clearly not with those moms but with other moms out there, with other African-Americans?

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I think that we can all agree that we have a problem here. And I can -- I might not necessarily have the same experience they had or their children had growing up in that type of community but I am a mother. And my heart goes out for them. When you hear those stories, how do you not want to find a solution?

Right now, under President Obama, we have seen a rise in gun violence in these inner city urban areas. We have seen gang memberships on the rise. At the same time, poverty is also on the rise. So we've got find some sort of solution and Donald Trump has said I've got one. It's called jobs. It's called hope. It's called sitting there in community choice and school choice. COOPER: Nationwide, crime -- I mean, crime ...

HUGHES: Nationwide has, yes.

COOPER: ... it's gone down in six cities. Yes.

HUGHES: And so has gun ownership also gone up. But it's the inner cities, these urban areas, 44 cities where crime is going up as well as gang violence. So there's an issue that needs to be addressed by those communities and they need to be supported whether it's through law enforcement or education.

COOPER: Angela?

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: So a couple things. One is, gun violence specifically, the overall crime rate has been on a steady decline since the 1980s. But I think that it's really important to watch the words that we use. So when we say those communities, those people, who are we talking about? We heard from three mothers who find Donald Trump's rhetoric and the death of kids, for example, Dwyane Wade's cousin just this weekend, being used as a political football is exactly the reason why you saw the creation of something like Black Lives Matter.

While Black Lives Matter was getting started talking about the value of black lives and the importance of recognizing that there has been disparate treatment and seeing how black lives are valued or handled, Donald Trump was busy calling people who look like me thugs, blaming the victim in these instances of gun violence and police brutality. That is deeply troubling to me and not only to me, I'm sure to several -- I'm not going to speak for all African-Americans but for several other African-Americans.

COOPER: Do you believe he can make inroads, though, by, I mean, the rhetoric -- the language he's using now, even going to an African- American church which we're told he's going to be doing in a couple days?

RYE: So several things, Don. I think -- I mean, I'm sorry, Jesus, Anderson. Several things that he can -- that Donald Trump can do and one of them is to hire people who have credibility with communities of color. He has hired a number of people to do black outreach who most these folks have never seen in roles other than reality show or Christian news networks that we haven't really ever heard of. That's the first thing.

I think the second thing that's important to note is that you can't talk about communities in a way that is frankly enraging. If you're saying, you know, you can't walk down the street, black people, without getting shot, I'm like oh, my goodness, thank God I'm still here today. It's very frustrating.

COOPER: Scottie, do you acknowledge that for some of that language is infuriating?

HUGHES: Well, first of all, let me stick up for those that Mr. Trump has hired. I have a lot of respect for people like Darrell Scott, Pastor Darrell Scott, who has one of the largest Christian congregations within Cleveland, Ohio and does amazing work. Even Pastor Mark Burns even though we're having this little controversy right now, does an amazing job. And others. Katrina Pierson, Omarosa.

[21:25:01] There are a lot of great people that he is including, including the person he hired from the very beginning. So I really don't think that we need to sit there and personally attack on other's ...

COOPER: Well, and Katrina Pierson, by the way, has done a good job making headlines for herself.

HUGHES: Well, I agree. But I'm saying -- but saying that they don't have credibility or saying he's not hiring competent people, he's hiring -- he's hiring -- they're actually volunteering to be a part of his campaign.

But I do think that, you know, what -- what has Hillary Clinton done to say that she's going to solve this problem? She's not presented and what more importantly, what has President Obama done in eight years that's allowed this to continue to escalate? He's not put anything. So if you want more of the same then vote for Hillary Clinton. But if you actually want to try something different, try to change and save your communities, Donald Trump.

COOPER: Scottie Nell Hughes, Angela Rye, thank you both. Appreciate it.

HUGHES: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand during the national anthem at a preseason game. He says he won't stand to show pride in the flag for a country that, he believes, oppresses people of color. The latest from Director Spike Lee on why he supports that decision next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: An NFL Quarterback is stirring up preseason controversy by refusing to stand during the national anthem.

[21:29:58] Colin Kaepernick says he won't show pride in the flag for a country that "oppresses black people and people of color." Sara Sidner joins us with more.

So has he said whether or not he would continue to protest like this?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson. Colin Kaepernick said he knew he would face backlash for his decision not to stand for the national anthem and he was right. But he said he will continue to do so until, as he puts it, America stops oppressing people of color. He says he's seen it in person when police pulled guns on him and his college roommate when he was in school.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN KAEPERNICK, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS QUARTERBACK: I have experienced this. People close to me have experienced this. This isn't something that's a one-off case here, one-off case there. This has become habitual. It's become a habit. So, it's something that needs to be addressed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: Now, the reaction to him was swift, varied and emotional. Some 49ers fans burned his jersey and they put that on social media, telling him to leave the NFL and the USA. There was also support online as well with people saying that look, protesting is part of the American fabric too, and he should be allowed to do so. Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah, I mean, while controversial, it certainly isn't the first time we've seen these kinds of protests particularly with athletes.

SIDNER: You're absolutely right. The black athletes have been protesting for decades. And you remember the time in 1968, everyone knows this iconic picture when you had these two gentlemen stand up on the podium and put their hands in the air. That salute, they said, actually was for human rights but they were roundly criticized. They were kicked out of the Olympics when that happened.

And then, of course, you had Muhammad Ali who came forth and said he did not want to be drafted and he also converted to becoming a Muslim. And people have now cheered those decisions many, many years later but history will tell us what they think of these athletes who have come out and protested in this day. Anderson.

COOPER: That's Sara Sidner. Sara, thanks. I've talked to Director Spike Lee about this when we spoke earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So what do you make of Colin Kaepernick not standing up?

SPIKE LEE, AMERICAN DIRECTOR: I support him. I find it so interesting how people want to pick and choose what rights people have. Now, any time you talk about anti-gun violence, people run screaming about they don't want their Second Amendment rights to be infringed upon. The same way John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their black-gloved fists at the '68 Olympics in Mexico. The same way Muhammad Ali refused to fight for injustice, a war that was crazy.

COOPER: Refused to fight in the Vietnam War.

LEE: Yes, the Vietnam War. These are rights Americans have.

COOPER: You see what he is doing, what Colin Kaepernick is doing is in that tradition?

LEE: Yes. It's in the tradition of black athletes standing up, using their platform saying I'm not happy with the way black people, people of color are being treated.

COOPER: It's so interesting because, often, at the time when an athlete does it, they are vilified.

LEE: Oh.

COOPER: That's the theory over there.

LEE: Oh.

COOPER: I mean, Muhammad Ali ...

LEE: The biggest revision story ever. Muhammad Ali one time was the most ...

COOPER: Hated.

LEE: ... hated person.

COOPER: Yeah.

LEE: People need to Google.

COOPER: Right.

LEE: Do research. Muhammad Ali was the most hated person in America.

COOPER: Right. He couldn't box in America.

LEE: Yeah. Muhammad Ali, people loved his -- him lighting up the torch ...

COOPER: Right.

LEE: ... where his arm was shaking in the Olympics in Atlanta.

COOPER: Yeah.

LEE: But not the defiant.

COOPER: Right.

LEE: He said no Viet Cong ever called me -- I'm not going to say the "N" word.

COOPER: Right.

LEE: And he sacrificed the prime ...

COOPER: "New York Times" would not use his name. They would call him Cassius Clay.

LEE: Yes. Not even calling the guy's name, so I think this is in the same tradition. What I find -- one moment ...

COOPER: Yeah, yeah. LEE: I find it very interesting that three members of Big Blue, the New York football Giants one presently playing and two retired are the ones that criticized him. Three of the New -- that's my team football. Three of those brothers, they should -- I'm, really, I'm not -- they should understand in what tradition, the history of why Colin did this.

Now, I bet you went to all three of them, they would say they loved Muhammad Ali. How could you love Muhammad Ali and not love him for the stance he took not to be inducted into the Vietnam War? If you say you like John Thomas -- Thomas (inaudible). Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is same thing.

COOPER: Muhammad Ali said, "If I kept my mouth shut just because I can make millions, then this ain't doing nothing so I just love the freedom and the flesh and blood of my people more so than I do the money." And Jackie Robinson said, "I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I'm a black man in a white world." That was Jackie Robinson in 1972 in his autobiography.

It is so interesting how ...

[21:35:00] LEE: This is the tradition. What Colin is doing now is not just come out and pop out of nowhere. There's tradition of African-American athletes standing up and saying, and using their platform to say something is wrong.

COOPER: Do you think he's going to pay a price for it? I mean, they ...

LEE: They all do. Muhammad Ali, three years of his prime. John Carlos, Tommie Smith, of course. But these brothers do this knowing that there will be ramifications and they don't care because this is their belief.

COOPER: It's a ...

LEE: Another thing I have to say, though. They always bring up, "Oh, you're making a lot money," so the reason, because you make money, that means that you can't have a moral foundation and speak? I mean, like, here's the thing, black athletes, we pay you money, play ball, shut up, don't say nothing, we're giving you money, million dollars, just to go out there, run up and down the gridiron run up and down the court and just be quiet and play.

COOPER: There have been a lot of athletes who don't want to risk, you know, their endorsement deals, things like that.

LEE: Look, I understand that. It's all individual choice. But, when someone has the courage to step out knowing they're could lose all that, why you going to jump on the brother man?

COOPER: Do you stand up during the national anthem?

LEE: Yes. But it's a personal choice. That is not me standing up for the national anthem, does not affect me doing "Malcolm X" or "Do the Right Thing," all the other documentaries you saw. That has nothing to do with it for me. You know, I stand up. But I'm not going to laugh.

COOPER: You also stand up for his right not to.

LEE: Yes.

COOPER: Spike Lee, thank you.

LEE: Thank you.

COOPER: Appreciate it.

Coming up, the latest on another Anthony Weiner sexting scandal. What his wife, a top Clinton aide, is doing about it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:40:57] COOPER: Hard to believe we're saying this sentence yet again. But former Congressman Anthony Weiner has been caught in yet another sexting scandal. His wife, top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, says she's had enough. Miguel Marquez has details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anthony Weiner caught in yet another sexting scandal. The disgraced former congressman, husband to long-time and powerful Hillary Clinton adviser, Huma Abedin, humiliated once again, this time, on the front page of "The New York Post."

And this time, it's not just a lurid photo of Weiner on the front page. The selfie he sent to a woman, not his wife, shows him in his underwear, this time with his child beside him. The "Post" reporting the picture was sent by 40-something divorcee out west in the midst of a sexual conversation with the caption, "Someone just climbed into my bed." According to the "Post" Weiner and the woman exchanged messages going back to January of last year.

For some, the story about the husband of the current vice chair of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and previously her deputy chief of staff at the State Department is a potential question of national security, for others, just a cheap tabloid story. But for wife, Huma Abedin, it is apparently the last straw.

In a statement, Abedin said, "I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life." She also asks for privacy.

ANTHONY WEINER, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Thanks guys.

MARQUEZ: Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after accidentally tweeting to the entire world a sexually explicit photo intended to be a direct message to a 21-year-old woman. After days of denials and mounting pressure to resign, he finally fessed up. WEINER: To be clear the picture was of me and I sent it.

MARQUEZ: In 2013, during a comeback effort as he ran for mayor, Weiner was caught for a second time sexting with women under the alias Carlos Danger. Abedin defended him before the cameras.

HUMA ABEDIN, CLINTON CAMPAIGN VICE CHAIRWOMAN: So really what I want to say is I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him. And as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.

MARQUEZ: But today, separated, their marriage dissolving even before the public announcement. A close friend telling CNN that the couple has been separated for months and recently she hadn't even been wearing her wedding ring.

This morning after another humiliating round of sexting went public, Weiner finally deleted his Twitter account.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Joining me now with more, CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

I mean, the fact that he still had a Twitter account boggles my mind. But, I mean, you got to feel for Huma Abedin. And this is just horrific for her. Do we know how -- I mean, when did she find out exactly?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, she found out over the weekend, I'm told. Actually, Anthony Weiner was here in the Hamptons with Huma Abedin and their son Jordan.

I'm told when she found out about that photograph, when she saw that photograph, she was furious and sickened. Those are two words used by friends of hers. She has known that he has been, you know, sexting over the years, of course. She's been, you know, busy with the presidential campaign, but did not believe that he was doing this. So he left.

She, Anderson, was off the campaign trail today. I cannot recall a day during this campaign, last year and a half or so of this campaign where she has not been at Hillary Clinton's side. She was not today. She was taking some time to herself.

Now, I also talked to some other friends of hers. You know, the announcement this morning for the separation seemed kind of quick and sudden. They said actually this has been in the works in some respect but it simply could not sustain it any longer. She simply could not go on any longer here. And she did not want this to become a distraction in this campaign. That's, of course, exactly what he made this, a distraction that Donald Trump was meant too happy to seize on. Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah, Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks very much.

[21:45:00] Just ahead, a former top recruiter for al-Qaeda's path back from radicalism and why some are asking can he actually be trusted.

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COOPER: Al Qaeda's path from radicalism and why some are asking can he actually be trusted?

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COOPER: Terrorism is obviously a key issue in the presidential race, destroying ISIS, keeping Americans safe from among of many voters' top concerns. It's not a new idea to turn to a former bad guy to help catch terrorists. And not for all who better to get inside their minds and former radicalize extremist. But how can you be certain that a former extremist really is reformed? That's the question being asked by an American. He used to be one of al-Qaeda's top recruiters and now has been hired by U.S. university to research the ideology he once helped spread. Elizabeth Cohen reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This U.S. citizen was once a radicalized extremist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to prison for propagandizing on behalf of a terrorist organization.

COHEN: He recruited people to join al-Qaeda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It became a call to go out on to your back porch and just start killing civilians.

COHEN: We couldn't tell you then what we can tell you now. His name is Jesse Morton. And he has a new job, as a research fellow at George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security where he'll be doing research and writing, but not teaching.

So what can you, given your background, contribute to this program?

JESSE MORTON, FORMER ISLAMIST EXTREMIST: Well, I mean, I have a background in radicalizing others. I understand the mentality. I understand also what attracts people to the ideology. I also understand how to counter that as a result.

[21:50:02] COHEN: The hope, that Morton can stop others from becoming extremists, but can he be trusted? Take a look at this story from CNN's Drew Griffin nearly seven years ago when Morton called himself "Younus Abdullah Muhammad."

MORTON: We're commanded to terrorize these believers and this is a religion like I said.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're commanded to terrorize the ...

MORTAN: And the Qur'an says very clearly in the Arabic language, "turhiboona". This means terrorize them. It's a command from Allah. COHEN: We showed the story to Shamus Hughes who hired Morton to work at George Washington.

MORTON: Let us give United States, that the enemy it really is.

COHEN: Is this the man that you know now?

SEAMUS HUGHES, GEORGE WASHINGTON CENTER FOR CYBER AND HOMELAND SECURITY: No, that was Jesse who he was, it's not who Jesse is now. He has reformed. He's changed.

COHEN: Do you trust him?

HUGHES: Yes, I trust him. We did our due diligence. So I used to be at the Intelligence community. I called my old colleagues, the prosecuting attorney that worked on his case. I talked to the FBI which he's been working with the last year.

COHEN: And you're an expert in extremists. But does he know things that you don't?

HUGHES: It's one thing to read a book. It's another thing to experience.

COHEN: Can you understand how someone might see this and say, "I can't believe George Washington would hire this guy?"

HUGHES: I absolutely understand people's concerns.

MORTON: We tell you Muslims to rise up.

COHEN: Is this the same man as I'm looking at right now?

MORTON: No, that is an ignorant man. That is man that has been brainwashed.

COHEN: How does it make you feel to see this now?

MORTON: Regretful. And like I want to deter others from adopting that same position.

COHEN: Jesse Cortez Morton was born in Pennsylvania 37 years ago, was a choirboy in his grandmother Baptist church. But he came from an abusive household and was in and out of jail as a young man on drug and other charges. He came into contact with radical Islamist and co- founded a group called Revolution Muslim in 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jesse Morton.

COHEN: And he maintained those views while learning a master's degree in international affairs at Columbia University in 2009. At Revolution Muslim, he encouraged others to engage in violent Jihad according to the U.S. attorney's office.

In 2012, Morton was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for threatening the creators of the T.V. shows, "South Park" which depicted the prophet Muhammad in a bear suit. He was released after less than three years. He later cooperated with the FBI on several high-profile cases according to George Washington University.

MORTON: There's a lot of people that I interacted with in law enforcement because -- and I understand it, I was viewed as like a demon.

COHEN: He said his deradicalization began when one FBI agent saw him differently.

MORTON: And I had interaction with a fabulous agent, female agent, that over time it became apparent to me that she was a human being. All she cared about was protecting the public. She really was like a good family person. She loved her country. And she was just -- it wasn't a manipulation as far as I saw it. And so I opened up. I was rehumanized by my interactions with someone I once thought to be my enemy.

COHEN: Morton said he hopes the American public will come to believe him and ideally forgive him.

I imagine some people would say, "Why should we believe this man? He was a voice for hate and a voice for violence. Why should we believe him that he's changed?"

MORTON: I'll just have to prove myself and deal with the questions that come as I go. Just I have an enormous amount of guilt and regret. This is an opportunity for me to make amends to some degree.

COHEN: Have you forgiven yourself?

MORTON: I think, yes. I have seen things that people have done and to know that I once sort of sympathized and supported that view, it sickens me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Elizabeth joins us now. It's fascinating. I remember broadcasting those stories by Drew Griffin. Those guys were working here in New York on a street corner. How does he explain though this, you know, what seems to be a 180 degree turn that he's made? I mean, it's just this FBI agent who sort of reached out to him?

COHEN: You know, that's part of it, Anderson. The evolution is so huge. He said it really happened in phases. So he said in the beginning, he went to Morocco completely as he is now, as you see him now, convinced of the rightfulness of this hate and this violence.

But he said, in Morocco, he met young secular Muslims and he saw they were smart and he likes them. And that started to change his ideology. Then he went to prison. He was in solitary confinement for months. He said that gave him a lot of time to think.

And then he was allowed to go to the library. And he said he read the works of John Locke and John Jacques Rousseau and the Enlightenment Thinkers and he said that that also led to changes. And then he said meeting that FBI agent, he thought of her as the enemy and then when he saw that she really wasn't, that she was a good person, that made him question his beliefs.

COOPER: All right. Fascinating. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

Just ahead, more breaking news, the wildly talented and beloved actor Gene Wilder has sadly died. We remember him, his work and life next.

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[21:58:31] COOPER: Well, the world has lost one of its great talents, actor Gene Wilder has died of complications from Alzheimer's. He was best known for collaborations with Mel Brooks. His screen credits include the producers, "Blazing Saddles", "Young Frankenstein." He was also an accomplished stage actor, screenwriter director. For many, one of his best loved roles was the title character, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENE WILDER, ACTOR: You stole Fizzy-Lifting Drinks. You bumped into the ceiling, which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing. You lose. Good day, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a crook. You're a cheat and a swindler. That's what you are. How could you do a thing like this? Build up a little boy's hopes, and then smash all his dreams to pieces? You're an inhuman monster.

WILDER: I said, good day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, Charlie. I'll get even with him if it's the last thing I ever do. If Slugworth wants a Gobstopper, he'll get one.

CHARLIE: Mr. Wonka?

[22:00:06] WILDER: So shines a good deed in a weary world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A weary world in deed, but made much better because of Gene Wilder. If you haven't seen "Willy Wonka" or "Blazing Saddles" or "The Producers," if you haven't see the "The Producers" I urge you to rent it. He was truly extraordinary. He was 83 years old.

Thanks for watching. Time for "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon.